Challenges of Expats – Interview with Nathalia 

In my goal to support expats, I interview regularly, revealing great stories and advise. Whether you are an expat or thinking to become one, you may relate or perhaps find interesting advise.      Arriving in a new country is a big change, and  how to feel ‘’at Home’’ and integrate can be a challenge. 

This month I introduce you to Nathalia, who shares her experiences with us.

                                              Simply relax &  enjoy 🙂

  From Brazil to The Netherlands… all for LOVE….

Who is Nathalia?

Nathalia: ‘’I am 27 years old, engaged and Pedagogue with two masters in education area. I love dance zouk, forró and samba (Brazilians dances). Before I moved, I used to write on  my blog (,  about people that decide to move from their country to follow some passion, that could be a partner, new life, travelling or another motivation. It was a good exercise for me to make my choice. But then I stopped because I had to be more focused on learning Dutch.

When did you move and why the choice of  The Netherlands?

Nathalia: ‘’In September 2015 because my partner is Dutch and we decided to live together and not have a distant relationship anymore.”

Your decsision was the 1st  step,  but then what next actions did you take?

 Nathalia: ‘’ I recently moved so still a lot to do but when I arrived here I had already started the procedure to have my Portuguese Nationality because my mother is half Portuguese and as Brazilian I could not be allowed to live and work in the Netherlands.

So right after I received the answer from Portugal that my Portuguese Nationality was accepted I decided to buy my flights and move to Holland. I arrived here as Brazilian and I had to continue the bureaucracy in here at Portuguese Consul in Den Haag. After that I had to go to the city hall in Haarlem to be registered there as Portuguese. After weeks I got my BSN number and now am legal to live and work in Holland. Now I can apply for very important things like, bank account, health insurance and house doctor.

And I am looking for a job and studying Dutch… I would like to find work where I can use my native language (Portuguese) or work with tourists, because I love to know and help people from abroad.

Rachel: ‘’Paperwork can be a real burden, but we all have to go through it. You are certainly not alone having to deal with that. Finding a job you enjoy would make your integration complete and I trust your enthusiasm will help you succeed in finding one.’’

What was your first impression of  the country The Netherlands?

Nathalia  : ‘’ I came here twice for vacation and I could see how organized and beautiful is the country. The streets are clean and how the transport system works here, flowers everywhere. It’s lovely!

What was your first impression of  The Dutch people?

Nathalia  : ‘’ At first I almost had no contact with dutch people because I stayed in Amsterdam where most are from abroad. But now through my partner, I know his friends and family, who are very kind to me. They make me feel at home. I was expected that they were more cold people as we used to think about everyone from Europe, but they are not.

The differences I can recognize between Dutch and Brazilian people is their planning in advance and if they have an appointment they will really be there. So if they want to make an appointment with you for a dinner, for instance, they can plan it for 1 month from now and they will be there without have to confirm with you all the time. In Brazil we sometimes just say, hey let’s do something tomorrow and perhaps you really will but most of times nothing happened. J Hahaha So that’s is a little bit strange for me and I think: Oh my god I don’t know if I will be alive tomorrow, how can I plan something for one month from now? J  J  But I am already used to it.

Rachel : Punctuality is really typical indeed and many expats notice this right away. E.g. planning birthdays is very common and happens even months in advance. And if you say YES, it really means YES J ‘’

Any other big differences compared to Brazil?

Nathalia  : ‘ Brazil has many problems and you can explain most of them when you study about the history of the country. Unfortunately we have a lot of corruption and we need to invest a lot in education, health and another social needs to guarantee a good life for Brazilian people. We used to say in Brazil: “we are Brazilian and we never give up” and everyone who goes to Brazil, love it because even with all of this problems we try to keep happy with amazing music, food and culture. This is what makes us proud of being Brazilian and we try to forget the rest with a bit of football, samba, barbecue and beer!

Rachel : ‘’Great attitude! I really have that impression of Brazilian people to be positive, colorful and joyful.‘’

What was your biggest Challenge moving to the Netherlands?

Nathalia  : ‘’ The biggest challenge is be open to restart your life: new house, new friend, new language, new culture.”

Rachel : ‘Language is in my opinion a true priority if you really want to integrate faster and feel more like what I call an ‘’INPAT’’. But also for you to find a job, it will be easier I believe. So, keep up the good vibe of learning Dutch J’’

Please tell us your Number ONE TIP when coming to The Netherlands.

Nathalia  :’’TOP tip # 1: Be open to see people as just people, no prejudice about breed, sexual option, life style or religion, you will find every kind of people in here.

’’TOP tip # 2:: Buy a bike, a clock and an diary!

Thank you very much!

This photo was taken in the day we meet each other and it is in Kaastel de Haar – Utrecht (NL)

About Rachel:

Do you feel ambitious and want to get more out of life before you grow old? Are you ready to expand your experiences ABROAD, but don’t know how? Let me help you plan and prepare to make your change REAL. 

 As an expat since 14 years, I have lived in many countries and learned 6 languages. I had to overcome challenges and found my way each time again….new job, new home, new people, new language…..

My first move was the hardest decision, but I have never had any regrets. And now I can grow old and say ‘’I have done it’’. You can too!

Contact me for a free 20 min Discovery session to discuss your personal action plan.

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